Written by Carolinne Griffin
Beauty and goodness are the two guiding principles at the heart of NU Chocolat, a family-owned business on a mission to bring the best chocolate on the planet to the people of Vermont. Best, in this case, is not hyperbole. Chocolatiers Kevin and Laura Toohey spent three years apprenticing at Andre's Swiss Candies and Pastries in St. Louis, MO, living and breathing the Swiss tradition of chocolate making. Today, their state-of-the-art facility, part chocolate lab, part café, at 180 Battery Street, is where Kevin, Laura and their children, Virginia and Rowan, use the most advanced technologies and European training to craft delectable chocolates.
NU’s line of truffles, caramels, bars and snacks, start with a base of the world’s finest chocolate from the northern region of South America. The Tooheys partner with Luker Chocolate in Bogota, Columbia, another family-owned business that puts sustainability and well-being back into the chocolate supply chain, as well as two manufacturers in Switzerland and France. They source their cream and butter from, you guessed it, local dairy farms. “It’s such a gift to be here in Vermont. I talk to our friends in Canada, chefs in Europe, and they’re just so envious because everywhere else in the U.S., Canada and Europe, all cream is standardized, right? It’s emulsified and homogenized, pasteurized to very specific laws. But in Vermont we’re a highly protected dairy state.”
The Tooheys feature other regional products in their caramels and truffles, like apple cider, Smuggler’s Notch bourbon and honey from Vermont apiaries.
Nu, in French, means naked, and in culinary circles, unadorned. NU Chocolat’s packaging presents an understated elegance that puts the quality of the product front and center. “When someone approaches the store, when they see the chocolate . . . experience the customer service, that whole process is about opening their hearts to this beauty and goodness. It really is the foundation of all we do.”